Selections from Seeing sociologically by Harold Garfinkel

Harold Garfinkel

Seeing sociologically: The routine grounds of social action

Edited and Introduced by A. Rawls. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers2006 [1948].

The descriptive statement that we shall be concerned with is statement 2 on page 203. The statement reads:

We shall speak of a relationship of Power when actor A is so regarded by actor B that A's treatment of B effects a change in some element or elements of B's cognitive style, the changes being of such a character as to limit B's alternatives of action to those or that one which A desires.

Suppose we translate this statement into hypothetical form, and use the modifier (x) to indicate the problematic materials that make up the concerns of the thesis. The statement reads:

Assuming , let there be meant a dyadic group made up of Aγ(x) c Bγ(x). When A is regarded by B (x)-wise, A's treatment of B will be interpreted in such a way (x) by B as to encompass a change (x) in an element or elements (x) of B's cognitive style, the change being of such a character (x) as to limit B's alternatives of action (x) to those or that one which A desires (x). The problematical materials designated in this statement can be incorporated into the statement.

(note that Garfinkel starts with power in interaction—something that ethnomethodology has been said not to be concerned with when, on the contrary, its experimental techniques can help see how exactly power in society operates)

The problematical character of actor A will be reduced by making him a stooge in the affair. To help us in "slowing up the process" of B's interpretive activity, we shall use the device of cutting B off by facing him with incongruous material. The effort of the thesis will be directed to examining the meanings and efforts that make up the grounds and tactics that B employs in meeting this treatment. (pp. 206-207)

We shall not have time to work through all the possible incongruity types. The thesis will consist of the pre-experimental program, the systematic findings that result from inducing as many incongruiity types as time allows. We plan to have completed as much work as might constitute an acceptable thesis by the end ofthe Spring semester of 1949. (p. 216)

actually the thesis was deemed "acceptable" only in 1952. Do note the indexical nature of "work that might constitute an acceptable thesis"

some pages from "Statement of Thesis Problems" (pp. 205-216)

created on Thu Sep 26 11:28:43 2013